Molly's Reviews > Loving Frank

Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
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Jan 29, 15

bookshelves: worththeread
Recommended to Molly by: Mom
Recommended for: book club
Read in October, 2008

Holy smokes does this book have a shocking ending. There is not one note on the book flap or in cover blurbs to point to that. It's a historical novel, a love affair between a woman named Mamah Borthwright or -wick (or something like that) and Frank Lloyd Wright. They really did leave their families--his six children, her three--to be with one another in 1909.

As an editor, I'm surprised by the book editor's decision to not make note of the tragic twist at the end even once on the cover. The book jacket recommendations were phoney-sounding: Elizabeth Berg wrote, "this character will live on in my heart and soul for the rest of my life." (I don't know about THAT)

Someone else, Scott Turrow perhaps (I highly doubt he read the whole book) called it a brave first novel. Okay, I'm with him; although it woudl have been braver still to do some creative flash-backing at some point to keep the reader from yawning about pre-war feminism and know that the end of the love affair was goign to rattle her--the reader's--cage.

If I were a blurbist, I'd write:

Horan's readable historical novel delves into the concepts of freedom versus self-absorption, creativy against egomania, and the price one pays, in any era, for happiness. Although she lived her brave, even racy life 100 years ago, Mamah Borthwick's struggles are not unlike women today. Her story is compelling from its safe, tidy Chicago suburban beginning to its sudden, jarring end. A great book club read.
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Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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message 1: by Bonniewyman (new)

Bonniewyman I enjoyed this book & actually it was a fast read. I was shocked by the ending & it made me delve further into the historical part. I'm originally from PA, close to Falling Waters, so I have an interest in Frank Lloyd Wright.
Mom


Melissa Great review -- you expressed a lot of what I am thinking 15 minutes after finishing the book. I had absolutely no idea about the ending and agree that the editor really dropped the ball by not at least hinting at what would be to come.


Joanna Mieso I enjoyed this book tremendously but any hint about the ending would have ruined it for me - I was walking around for days going "WOW!"


Jeanne I considered abandoning this book many times. What kept me through it is that I was hoping for some type of satisfying compromise to their lives. If there had been any hint of a tragic ending, I would definitely have abandoned the book, so I think it was a wise idea to leave the "suprise" off the book jacket.


message 5: by Ann (last edited Jan 11, 2010 09:06PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ann Brooks My copy does have two reviews that indicate big unbelieveable ending. While it was in the back of my mind as I read each page, satisfied with coMing to know the characters more and more deeply with each paragraph, nothing could prepare you, fair warning included, of the ending. I had to google before I realized it was based on fact. As a matter of fact, I was finding myself annoyed that author was shipping up a soap opera ending to a beautifully written story. Still can't quite get over the "terrible inevitability of a Greek tragedy"-Chicago.


Michelle I love your version of the blurb! Bravo! I actually knew the ending because of a reference made to Mamah at a FLR tour in Oak Park and a friend with me who had already read the book. Have to say it made me anxious the whole time knowing what was to happen and yet when it I read that part in the book it felt SO gut-wrenching and tragic and I had a visceral reaction to the absolute horror of her terrible end.


message 7: by Carlin (new) - added it

Carlin I so looked forward to reading this book. I started it after visiting Taliesen West, FLW's home (and school) in Scottsdale, Arizona. But out of the blue someone told me about the ending. I stopped reading and could never get back. I just moved it from my "currently reading" to my "to be read" shelf, but I think I'll just donate it to the library!


message 8: by Carlin (new) - added it

Carlin I so looked forward to reading this book. I started it after visiting Taliesen West, FLW's home (and school) in Scottsdale, Arizona. But out of the blue someone told me about the ending. I stopped reading and could never get back. I just moved it from my "currently reading" to my "to be read" shelf, but I think I'll just donate it to the library!


Dandy I liked that I didn't know what was coming at the end. I think it enhanced the feeling of shock and tragedy. Although I definitely agree that it would have helped me get through some of the other parts had I known we were building up to something.


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